KEY SCRIPTURE Numbers 22:21-39 Balaam's Ass
The Lord's help comes in many disguises.
While taking a few days off with good friends, we had a separate mishap with a great teaching lesson. No, I didn't break another rib in the surf. This time our example was in Northern Victoria, near the lake town of Eildon, and my wife Heather was the subject.
We took one kayak instead of both for this trek, as I am still nursing the cracked rib. Heather wanted to paddle down the Goulburn River, which was flowing quite strongly. The plan was to drop her off upstream and meet her later at the caravan park where we were staying. She was reticent to venture beyond that point due to the merciless rapids downstream where they hold the Australian Canoe Championships. It would be far too rough for me to dive in and help if she struck trouble.
So Barry and I dropped Heather off at the desired location and put the kayak in the water as Heather donned her safety vest. She thought it wise to include her iPhone in her kit. You know, just in case. :)
We pushed her off and took photos as she paddled away, then Barry and I made our way back to the caravan park for a cuppa. It only took fifteen minutes before I received the call. Heather had capsized.
Instead of remaining on the central part of the river, she decided to divert to a more exciting section on the far side, behind an island. Wrong choice! That route with riddled with fallen trees and logs, all waiting for a novice to venture into their custody. Plus, she was now completely hidden.
The first tree snagged her kayak and oar, spinning them sideways and pinning them between the half-sunken tree and the torrent. The kayak quickly filled with water as Heather struggled to release herself from the cockpit. Once out, she rang me. Neither Heather nor we had any idea what part of the river she was stuck in.
Heather climbed through the blackberry bushes growing on the side of the hill, then under the tow electric cow fences to the road as Barry and I raced around trying to find the right backroad. Locating her, we retraced her steps under the electric fences and through the blackberry bushes with some ropes and straps.
Thankfully, with some grit and grunts, we were able to haul the kayak out and empty it while hanging onto branches. Then, we dragged it through the blackberry bushes, slashing our legs on the way, up the hill, then under the electric fences passed all the cows, and back to base for a rest.
Heather only realised she had taken the wrong route, AFTER she had entered, and found the current too fast to turn around. Our approach to sin can be like this. When we enter, we still think we're in control, but soon see we have handed our authority over to the current.
The blessing in disguise? The tree that snagged her was also the one that saved her. Like Balaam's donkey standing in his way, preventing him from perishing (Numbers 22:21-39), this tree impeded Heather from a worse fate downstream with more treacherous snags. We may have lost the kayak (many lie at the bottom of this river) and perhaps Heather.
Later on, as we licked our emotional wounds and dabbed at our blackberry slashes over a cuppa and some panadol for my now excruciating rib, we worked on how Heather could get back on the water, do the trek safely, and put the iphone in a ziplock bag.
PRAYER Today's prayer: Dear Lord, you have given us a life full of adventure if we choose to stay within the bounds of your commandments. When we venture out, we are only saved from our poor choices by your grace. Thank you again.